One Writer’s Journey

June 23, 2015

Finding an Agent

This week, I drafted the backmatter for a nonfiction picture book on prayer.  I actually wrote that I revised it but then changed that to drafted.  This version is so different from the first that I’m hesitant to call it a rewrite.  This means that I have two picture books ready to go out.  One more and I’ll start submitting to . . . agents?  Editors?  Today, I’m thinking agents.  Because of that I’ve been reading agents blogs looking for information on how to query.  One of my favorites is Janet Reid’s blog.

One of the things that she wrote about was how to tell an agent that an editor you met at a conference currently has the manuscript in question.  That’s good news right?

Actually, Reid says that it really isn’t good news.  It is, in fact, the kind of thing that agents hate to hear.  The reason is that although the editor agreed to read it, it may not be perfect for them.  The agent will read your manuscript and immediately know that.  But now that the editor has received your manuscript in submission, the agent can’t send your work to anyone else in that imprint.

What this means is that the fewer people who have seen your manuscript as a submission the better.

I wonder how many of these things that authors consider great news (someone liked my work!) are really no help in attracting an agent. My guess is that this list includes won a writer’s guild writing contest, got a good critique at a class or was much acclaimed by your college writing professor.

I’m not saying that you don’t want to show other professionals your work if it means that they can help you improve as a writer.  Improve all you can and then submit the best piece of writing you can create.  It’s this writing, not the glowing words of a conference critiquer, that are going to attract an agent.

–SueBE

 

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